Thad Matta is getting close to disbanding the Ohio State men's basketball team, a source close to the program told 11W on Tuesday.
Apparently, losing back to back games was the final straw that broke the camel's back; Thad Matta was reportedly so frustrated with not winning every game by 15 points (despite losing his only consistent offensive threat to the draft last year), that he has revoked every player's scholarship except Amedeo Della Valle and Jake Lorbach's, calling them "literally the only reason why I get out of bed in the morning" and "my personal role models in life."
Matta's ire has been reserved for the rest of the team, particularly Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, who he intimated were simply biding their time until the NBA draft. "Everyone's right, these guys just aren't into it anymore, and really never have been." Matta is rumored to have said of two of the winningest players in Ohio State history.
Sam Thompson says he understands Thad Matta's frustration. "Let's be honest: losing two games in a row is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I no longer believe that the universe is ruled by a just and loving God, and now have confronted how infinitesimally small my life is when weighed against the enormity of a cold and uncaring cosmos."
Thompson then added, "We're doomed to walk the earth, no more than shattered husks battered about by the wind. I am a man without a soul, or direction, or a real shot at a three seed in March Madness. GOD! WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?"
Matta's frustration was said to have not just been reserved for his players.
"Look, clearly I have no idea what I'm doing out there. No perimeter defense when the game is on the line, no big man in the paint to stop anything inside, and consistent scoring from anybody is pretty much a pipe dream at this point. At no point in my coaching career, at Ohio State or anywhere else, have I ever encountered and then overcome these kinds of problems."
The stats seem to back up Matta's reasoning. Last year's Ohio State basketball team also lost two games in a row (and then three of four in that same stretch), including a blowout loss at home, and eventually lost their final game of the season.
Had they won the national championship instead of disgracing themselves by falling in the lowly Elite 8, it is unlikely that this kind of furor would be surrounding the program.
After the overtime loss to Michigan State last week, Spartan head coach Tom Izzo noted that "During that 17 point comeback, you knew. I could see it in their eyes as they clawed and scratched their way back into a game in one of the most hostile environments in college basketball: they just did not want to be there." This is backed up by Amir William's assertion that the team really only tried so hard in the last few minutes of the game because "we really just wanted to get off the court somewhat happy with ourselves and then take a nap."
Opponents of the plan to disband the team have been quick to point out that not only has Thad Matta never won fewer than 20 games in any season that he's coached, and that despite going 32-2 before the tournament, the 2011 Ohio State basketball team still couldn't advance past the Sweet 16.
Opponents also say this is an indicator that regular season games aren't really a predictor of postseason success, and that Matta's teams usually get much better over the course of a season.
When told about this, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith had a hollow chuckle before intoning, "This is Ohio State. Fans, players, coaches, fans, myself, and especially fans will not accept anything less than perfect seasons followed by national championships every single year. Anything less is an utter and abject failure on the part of Matta and the players. I have no further comment at this time."
Sources close to the program have learned that instead of basketball, Matta and his players have reportedly taken up the ancient Japanese art of Ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. "Look, my perspective was, if we're not winning 30 plus games and going to the Final Four every season, what's the point?" said Shannon Scott as he carefully placed the water lily in a glass container. "Now that I'm adhering to the principles of wabi-sabi, I'm a much happier person."
Coaches around the Big Ten seemed to endorse the move. When asked about the potential of Thad Matta shuttering the Ohio State program, Tom Crean was in agreement.
Biting his knuckle, the Indiana head coach asked if this was true and was told that it was. "Oh happy day!" shouted Crean, his eyes welling up with tears.